I’ve been caught up in watching the Olympics this past week, and it’s because I can see so many similarities between entrepreneurialism and world class athletic performances. One of the things I noticed right away was that each athlete stays true to their sport. You won’t see the snow boarders attempting downhill skiing. The figure skaters do not engage in speed skating. They recognize where their talents lie, focus on improving every little detail, and keep their eye on the prize – a medal.
This is similar to the best marketers on the Internet. They focus on what they enjoy and excel in, without trying to be all things to all people. Affiliate marketers work hard at promoting the people and products they believe in. Bloggers concentrate on writing posts that will change the way the rest of us do business online.
When you hear the stories of some of these Olympic contenders you understand the sacrifices they have made. One speed skater had a horrible accident four years ago and it was thought his career was over. Against all odds. he went on to win the bronze medal this time. One snowboarder clipped a gate and spun off course, being disqualified immediately. Something similar had happened to her at the Winter Games in 2006. In a split second, her hopes of winning a medal were gone.
Redemption. This is the term used to describe what the athletes hope to do after putting in a disappointing performance at a previous event. How is that achieved? By spending time every day, even while at the event, practicing and perfecting their skills. How many of us do that same thing in our online business?
I believe we can learn a lot from watching these people perform their routines and give their best in order to represent their countries. Imagine if we were willing to train each day in order to improve what we are doing in our businesses? I’m not saying to strive for perfection, but instead to work on achieving the excellence that is possible when you are willing to make the commitment. The idea is to have the focus and concentration necessary to achieve your goals.
One figure skater from the United States has been working with a Russian coach. They maintained eye contact as she spoke to him for several minutes before he performed. The commentator stated that he now respected the sport and was training every day. The result was a performance that exceeded his personal best.
Snowboarder Shaun White is one of my favorite athletes in this Olympics. He hit his face against the lip of the pipe while practicing in January. He then went straight back to the top of the mountain and won the competition. He explained that if you fall, you just get back up and try it again. We could all learn a lesson from that advice. I’m so glad he won another gold medal this time. He will represent our country well.
And then there is snowboarder Hannah Teter. After winning a gold medal in Torino, Italy in 2006, she looked for an opportunity to help others. Soon she was on her way to a remote village in Kenya, where she opened her heart to help the people living there. She started an organization called Hannah’s Gold, named after the maple syrup made by her family back home in Vermont. She said that she has more motivation to win these days because the people in Kenya are counting on her. At just 23 years old, she has the heart of a Rotarian. All of her profits are donated to this cause. This week she won a silver medal, but she now thinks about something greater than the color of her medal.
There is great hope and promise for the future of our young people, if these athletes are an example.